Alex Dyson is one of a handful of high-profile independents looking to unseat a sitting Liberal member at the Federal Election this coming Saturday, May 21.
He is running for the seat of Wannon in Victoria, currently occupied by Dan Tehan who is also the minister for trade, tourism and investment.
Dyson has attempted the steep task before, taking on Tehan at the 2019 election.
Tehan secured 51.11% of the primary vote to the Labor Party’s 26.13% with candidate Maurice Billi back in 2019. Dyson placed third, ahead of The Greens and the United Australia Party, with 10,797 first preference votes, equivalent to 10.39%.
This election, however, there’s far more of a push for electorates who feel overlooked, underfunded and indeed underwhelmed by the current status quo to vote for someone not aligned with one of the two major political parties.
Dyson grew up in Warrnambool, within the Wannon electorate, and said for a long time it’s been neglected as it’s viewed as a “safe seat”. Indeed it’s been in the Liberal’s hands since it was won by Malcolm Fraser in 1955.
Dyson, however, is insistent that it’s time for change and has committed to getting things done in Canberra should he pull off, if not the impossible, then the improbable.
“Every now and then I flash forward into the sliding doors moment of what could happen on election night and what I need to do,” he told Variety Australia ahead of polling day.
“Hopefully I’d do a quick wash of clothes and then off to Canberra to see what the leaders have to say for themselves, because for a long time where I’m from – Wannon – has been overlooked by the major parties as a safe seat.
“So I’d be there to advocate. And it could be a Parliament that has a solid crossbench of people looking to make sure their own electorate is taken care of, and I’d certainly be advocating for my own.
“I’ve also thought about taking my voice recorder and recording those conversations, because I think transparent democracy is excellent, but I think that could just be my gut as a podcaster, hearing what these people say behind closed doors, because you just don’t really trust politicians out in the open.”
That open-door political podcast would likely be off limits, but what of Dyson’s podcast with comedian, musician, presenter and actor Matt Okine? Could “Matt and Alex All Day Breakfast” continue if Alex Dyson was not just a media personality, but actually Alex Dyson, the member for Wannon?
“I reckon we would keep churning away,” he said.
“I’d be really excited. I think having that sort of access to a sitting politician would be great, so I’d be really keen to keep going with Matt Okine – I’d just have to get him to move to Warrnambool with me and do it from there,” he joked, noting Okine could be his chief of staff.
Politicians, he said, are frequently up and about doing the media rounds of a morning anyway, so his daily commitment with SCA’s Listnr could continue in that vein.
This familiarity, and indeed involvement, with the media has been somewhat of an advantage in his campaign thus far, Dyson conceded.
“As far as the profile goes, I’m sure it’s been a slight advantage. Being in breakfast radio, you’ve got to get up and be yourself every morning. It’s not like I’m an actor who has a profile but I’m actually playing characters every day. People have heard me on the radio, often know my back story, where I’m from, my values, it does help a bit,” he said.
Plus, his skills as a presenter have helped him connect with his potential constituents, he said.
“Being a host of a show is great because when a caller calls up, it’s your job to bring their personality out. Ask them questions. Find out who they are. Find interesting characters. And when you’re talking to or interviewing a musician or an actor or a scientist or a politician, you’re also there to find out what makes them tick and ask them interesting questions.
“So it has been an advantage both from a profile point of voice and a skills point of view, but I think all politicians should merely be a conduit for the voice of the region to say what we need, what direction we want to head and implement strategies to do that.”
Despite the profile and the skills though, Dyson doesn’t think he’ll be elected simply because Wannon is full of die-hard “Matt and Alex” fans.
“There’s a large swathe, I would say the majority of the population, I’m introducing myself to for the frirst time,” he said.
“I’m really excited to see how many of these people [vote differently] on the 21st.”